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Christmas – The most important thing at this time of year is to rest, relax and just have a good time.

If you’ve been busy during the year your nervous system will have accumulated stresses & fatigue you may not even be aware of. Rather than thinking you have to ‘get healthy’ straight away it’s actually more important to understand that the health of our nervous system is more important than anything else…and the nervous system is rejuvenated best by things like mental rest, joy & laughter.

So don’t worry about diets or exercise regimes now. Put your feet up, indulge a little (during the DAY not at night best), totally forget about work for a while and just enjoy spending as much time being with those you love, catching up with friends etc – We’ll help get those extra kilo’s off in the New Year.

If you are lucky enough to be in good health & spending time with people you love at this time of year, treasure it and spare a thought for those who are aren’t so blessed.

Would you like the worlds most powerful drug for reducing stress, completely detoxing & rejuvenating your whole mind & body, preventing premature aging, and almost guaranteeing a long, healthy life. Well, the reality is, you already ‘naturally’, have access to something that does all that everyday…and it has no side effects & doesn’t cost a cent. It’s called ……..’Proper Sleep’.

And the best thing for Proper Sleep, is arguably the world’s oldest, most prescribed health advice of all time.

Most people greatly underestimate the effect travel (particularly flying), has on their body. The combination of being out of routine, pressurised (dehydrating) cabins, poor food (if you can call airline food, food), being seated for extended periods & possibly added stress of rushing for flights/flight changes etc, can really take it’s toll – especially if you have to travel regularly.

I would put regular/long air travel (without the below measures to reduce to negative effects) as one of the top ways to ‘age’ your body prematurely. From the ‘pulse reading’ assessment, I used as a consultant, by far the most out of balance physiologies I ever felt, were those of Flight Attendants.

So we’ve put together 10 Top Tips for Healthy Happy Travel – How to travel without compromising your health.

Do you have trouble getting to sleep, get to sleep but wake up during the night or think you sleep well yet don’t wake up refreshed?

We did a seminar with some night shift workers. As they have to sleep during the day, and thus miss their body’s natural sleep rejuvenation cycle, getting good-quality sleep is really important for them.

While there are many possible causes of not sleeping well, one that came up (and often overlooked), is how certain foods/drinks can adversely affect your sleep. So we thought we’d outline some of the main foods to avoid/reduce, for the 3 main types of disturbed sleep.

Here are ten tips for more settled, blissful sleep:

1. Eat three meals during the day – breakfast, lunch around noon and an early dinner.
2. Do regular balanced exercise – modern research also confirms that moderate exercise can help improve sleep.
3. Try to go to bed by 10 p.m., during the drowsy (Ayurvedic Kapha) time of night, so that your mind can settle down faster.
4. Eliminate or restrict severely the intake of stimulants such as caffeine or alcohol.
5. Wear comfortable clothing to bed — organic cotton is highly recommended .
6. Avoid hot, spicy foods at dinner.
7. Do not bring work-related material into the bedroom.
8. Keep your bedroom dark or very dimly lit.
9. A gentle massage of hands, feet and neck before bed can aid relaxation.
10. In bed, take long, deep, easy breaths, letting your mind and body relax.

According to the time-tested principles of Ayurvedic medicine eating heavy, hard to digest foods at night is the seed for all disorders – from fatigue, excess weight through to serious disease.

These problems are magnified if also eating late. Eating a ‘light’ dinner (according to appetite) reasonably early (digested by the time you go to bed) is one of the single most important things you can do for your lifelong health, happiness and personal performance.

Guidelines:

Where possible dinner is ideally ‘meat-free’ (avoiding cheese/heavy sweet is also good), however this should only be done very gradually. If cutting out meat entirely from your evening meal is not practical for you to begin with, realise that all meats are not digested the same – if you are going to eat meat at night favour ‘lighter’ meats – fish, turkey, chicken and avoid ‘heavier’ meats – pork, lamb, beef etc

* A piece of grilled fish and vegies is much better than a steak or pork chops.

Going Meat-Free

If you are in the habit of eating meat at night, it is not necessary to immediately withdraw it from the evening meal (or easy to know how to substitute for it). The following can be used while you get used to lighter (meat-free) dinners. Instead of eliminating meat completely, start by simply reducing the quantity of meat – E.g. rather than a full steak; eat ¾- then ½, then ¼ etc.

Aim to just gradually increase the number of meat-free dinners – E.g if meat-free twice a week now, increase to 3 times a week, then 4 times etc. When happy to eat ‘meat-free’ – options include:

  • Couscous
  • Pasta or Rice (with tomato based sauce, dahl as sauce – or very light cheese sauce)
  • Khichari (rice and dahl cooked together – recipe available)
  • Noodle dishes – stir-fries etc
  • Soups – vegetable, pumpkin, dahl/lentil soups etc etc

*** Note; this is just a guide – basically there is no restriction other than that your meal should be largely digested by the time you go to sleep.

Generally, if you wake-up in the morning feeling ‘light’, clear and refreshed – dinner was appropriate. If you wake-up feeling heavy, sluggish or dull – you may need to lighten your dinner, eat earlier and/or get to bed earlier. These recommendations are based on the eternal, universal principles governing human digestion – without question, the more you follow them the healthier you will be and the better you will feel!

Something to inspire you:

We have just received an email from an attendee to one of our seminars. He wrote as follows:


Hi Mark
Just a quick note to say thanks for some great advice in your book– ever since the FMG conference earlier this year – I’ve been meaning to put into practise some of your tips but you know what it’s like – putting off and putting off and then in July my wife and I went overseas for almost 2 months on holiday etc., which made the advice about changing sleep patterns to the more healthy difficult to implement until we got back.
But finally, and since Thursday night of last week, I’ve been making sure I’ve been in bed and asleep by 10pm each night. This would be a first time for me since childhood??? – as its usually either close to midnight and often after that I normally go to bed and then struggle to arise at 7am. Worse I sleep-in on weekend mornings thinking that was doing me good – but feeling no better.
Well – the results so far have been amazing – usually it’s an on-going war with the bedside clock to drag myself out of bed – but only after 5 days I’m now waking at around 5am bright and alert and could easily get up then. My sleep too has been very deep and satisfying….Next step is to actually get out of bed AT 5am J
I’ve also started putting into place having only a light dinner meal and have implemented that at the same time…things are looking up! Thanks again mate
All the best Mike
Michael Harvey
Head of Research – FMG New Zealand

Despite being one of the simplest & cheapest ways of improving our health & work performance, I’m amazed at how few people actually get around to doing it. Here are some tips for a healthier, happier workplace.

Food Ingredient Lists…Beware:

If food companies really had your health and best interests at heart, why do you think they never tell you in plain English, what is actually in their product? Because you most likely wouldn’t buy it.

Here is a few ingredient list items that are currently being used to pull the wool over your eyes. Watch out for them.

Ever felt frustrated that you just can’t do everything you are ‘meant’ to, in order to be ‘healthy’? Do you even get to the point where you create ‘more stress’ trying to fit all the ‘healthy’ things into your life?

Well, I can assure you, that you are not alone…and I have a funny little story that has a lesson that I’m sure will help.

COMPULSORY reading for all MEN. It might help make you a better partner/ boss/ friend…so read on. Just skip to The ‘Tips for Men’ section at bottom if you don’t want/can’t handle, the details.

Think of 3 letters that spark anguish into the mind of any woman in their middle years… P.M.S. While this can be a popular topic for jokes, it’s certainly no laughing matter for any woman who gets it (or their partners!). As I believe most people (men & women), don’t fully appreciate the seriousness of the ‘health affects’ associated with this ‘imbalance’, now we look at one way both ‘men’ & women can help alleviate the many problems associated with PMS.

Spring is the best time of year not only for cleaning your brick house but also for your more important house – your body.

So we have some tips for some ‘internal’ spring cleaning to help you feel great inside & out.

One great way to quickly restore balance & enjoying good health is to completely experience the ‘present moment’ – in a ‘transcendent’ way, not a stressed way.

Funnily enough, by far the best teachers/examples of this are young children. Before we ‘grow up’ too much, a young child’s world is full of fascination, wonder & innocence (lack of judgement/labels). To observe this state of unbounded freedom & simple joyousness actually helps that same health producing ‘vibration’ resonate within us.

I’ve just been spraying my face with rose water, massaging my temples with almond oil and looking at the green plant on my desk. Weird huh? Well maybe not. Do you get sore eyes from looking at your computer all day? Do you get headaches, or worse, is your eyesight deteriorating? Over stimulation of the eyes (especially from computers) is a common cause of long term eye problems as well as strain and fatigue short term.

The good news is that there is a simple solution…pick up your computer…and throw it out the window!!!

This is just a simple reminder for anyone looking to lose weight.The most important thing in losing weight is to…..NOT TO FOCUS ON LOSING WEIGHT.

Focusing solely on ‘what we weigh’ is a recipe for disaster and often results in compromising our health.

Everyone of us is different, and you have a healthy (ideal) weight range for your particular body type – pre-determined genetically.Some people are naturally slim – these are the people with a ‘high metabolism – commonly known in scientific/technical terminology as ………….’BASTARDS’.Others are NATURALLY of a bigger build (the ‘cuddlies’). This is perfectly normal & healthy for them.

Not sure if you saw the email some time ago about the Philosophy of Charles Schultz – the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. Anyway, I thought it was so good so I’m copying it here.

You don’t have to actually answer the questions. Just read the questions through, and you’ll get the point.

Are you or any of your friends one of the many people who have given up butter in favour of the ‘supposedly’ healthier margarine? Let’s take a look at one (not the only) reason why I think you’ve been conned. Have you ever heard of Trans fats?…you’ve almost certainly eaten them and possibly in something you considered healthy. Unfortunately, it’s another case of food manufacturers tampering with ‘natural’ foods and turning them into ‘harmful’ foods, ironically in the name of health.

So what are Trans Fats?

Bring Nature to You:

Ever noticed that by the end of the week, you just want to ‘get out of your stuffy office’ and ‘get some fresh air’/get back near Nature? One of the best ways to avoid that feeling as well as to improve your mood, workplace productivity, energy levels & resistance to illness is to bring Nature to you.

A study by Professor Margaret Burchett, of the University of Technology, Sydney, found that potplants can reduce air toxins by as much as 20%. A study on houseplants has shown they reduce, fatigue, sore throats & cold symptoms by over 30%. What about at work? Studies in Europe have shown potplants in the office can reduce ‘sick leave’ by 60%.

Plants not only give a bit of ‘life’ & colour to our sometimes ‘over-business like’ office environments; they can literally help reduce stress, offset the various toxic emissions from things like computers, mobile phone radiation, synthetic carpets, paints etc, increase mood and productivity & reduce absenteeism.

Do you ever get sweet cravings, even though you have just eaten? Ever wondered what to do about them?

Here’s 3 simple things that can help.

Do you like salad sandwiches because they’re easy & healthy? Do you think eating ‘rabbit food’ all year round is a good thing?

While it’s true salads / salad sandwiches etc are better than a pie & chips (most of the time!), in winter it’s important not to overdose on salads. While reducing your chances of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, the ancient science of Ayurveda, explains that too much ‘cold’, ‘dry’ (non-oily) rabbit food (especially in winter), can increase your incidence of joint pain, digestive & circulation problems, migraines /headaches, lowered immunity (more colds/flu’s) etc.